House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) said it is “unfortunate” that the White House is refusing to participate in Wednesday’s impeachment hearing and asserted, prior to the hearing, that there is already “overwhelming evidence of his [President Trump’s] abuse of power.”
White House Counsel Pat Cipollone wrote a letter to Nadler on Sunday, signaling the president’s intention to refrain from participating in the “baseless and highly partisan” impeachment inquiry.
As Breitbart News detailed:
Nadler had given the president and his lawyers until 6:00 p.m. EST to respond to a request to participate in the opening hearing of the Judiciary Committee’ inquiry on Wednesday, focusing on constitutional and legal issues. Democrats had prepared four witnesses, unnamed as of Sunday: three were reportedly in favor of impeachment. Separately, Nadler gave the White House a deadline of Friday, Dec. 6, to participate in the broader inquiry.
Cipollone asserted that the Democrats’ handling of the inquiry “violates all past historical precedent, basic due process rights, and fundamental fairness” and “further pointed out that the opening hearing would ‘include no fact witnesses at all’ and that neither the first nor subsequent hearings were clear about what witnesses would be called, or about what rights the president would be provided,” as Breitbart News reported.
Nadler responded to the letter in a public statement on Monday:
Late last night, the President and his counsel turned down our invitation to participate in Wednesday’s hearing. His response is unfortunate because allowing the President to participate has been a priority for the House from the outset. That is why the House included the opportunity to participate in H.Res 660.
The American people deserve transparency. If the President thinks the call was ‘perfect’ and there is nothing to hide then he would turn over the thousands of pages of documents by Congress, allow witnesses to testify instead of blocking testimony with baseless privilege claims, and provide and exculpatory information that refutes the overwhelming evidence of his abuse of power.
Nadler statement on WH not participating in Wednesday impeachment hearing —> pic.twitter.com/OyozfK22h1
— Katherine Faulders (@KFaulders) December 2, 2019
President Trump blasted the ongoing impeachment inquiry upon his departure to the NATO Summit in London on Monday.
“This is among the most important journeys that we make as president and for them to do, be doing this, and saying this, and putting an impeachment on the table – and this is a hoax to start off with,” he told reporters, referencing Ukrainian President Zelensky’s interview with TIME, in which he said he “never talked to the president from the position of a quid pro quo.”
“That should be case over … that should end everything,” Trump said. “But it will never end it because they want to do what they want to do and they’re getting killed in their own districts.”